Clothes in the Past

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  • Aspects of Co. Meath

The clothes worn by your grandparents when they were your age were different from the clothes you wear today. When your grandparents were young, many of the fabrics now used to make clothes had not been invented.

Photographs from the past show adults dressed in more formal clothes. Men usually wore suits with waistcoats. They also wore hats outdoors. People liked to dress up for events like agricultural shows and race meetings.

Children's clothes in the early twentieth century were also very different from those you wear today. Boys wore short trousers and in winter they wore overcoats. Girls wore dresses, often with cardigans or jumpers over them. Boys did not wear long trousers until they were teenagers, and girls did not wear trousers at all. In winter, girls often wore woollen tights and socks to keep warm.

Sportswear was very different in the past. It was usually made from white cotton. The skirts and shorts were longer and looser than the type of sportswear you have today.

In the first half of the twentieth century, clothes were made mostly from natural fibres like wool, cotton, linen and silk. Man-made fabrics for leisure wear and sportswear, like T-shirts, hoodies and tracksuits did not come into their own until the 1960s. The arrival of new synthetic fabrics like nylon, acrylic and lycra led to the manufacture of more casual clothes and sportswear.